Taking steps to help victims

By Connie Osborne Friday 06 December 2013 Updated: 06/12 11:36

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Buy photos » Men from all walks of life gathered in the town to don high heels to raise awareness of domestic abuse. Picture by Marcus Mingins 4913011MMR

MEN FROM across the town and county united together to walk a mile in high heels in a bid to raise awareness of domestic violence.

As part of the White Ribbon campaign's 16 Days of Action, more than 20 men donned women's shoes for the These Heels Are Made For Walking event last Friday (November 29).

As well as strutting through Market Place, Church Green and the Kingfisher Shopping Centre, the group also wore t-shirts and held up placards highlighting the cause.

In Worcestershire 8,500 domestic abuse incidents occurred between April 2012 and March this year which directly affected 4,300 children.

In Redditch, Bromsgrove and Kidderminster, 125 cases were discussed by Worcestershire's Multi Agency Risk Assessment Conferences which involves all agencies who deal with tackling domestic abuse. Since the launch of the organisation in 2008, the number of incidents fell by 133 in the first year.

Martin Lakeman, strategic co-ordinator for sexual abuse and violence in Worcestershire, said it was an extremely important cause with a frightening number of victims.

"While there might be an amusing side to today, it is about taking a stand and providing a fantastic opportunity to draw attention to this cause."

He added most victims of domestic abuse did not report incidents to police until the 35th occasion but people would be more confident in coming forward if residents signed up to pledge never to commit, condone or stay silent about the issue.

Supt Kevin Purcell, lead for policing in North Worcestershire, said domestic violence featured heavily in his work and the heels walk was a fun way to get across a very serious message.

"We want to inform people that one in two women do suffer some form of domestic abuse in their life. Today is about saying through the police, and all the other agencies involved, you can come forward and we will do all we can to help and we will try and stop this happening to you."

Bill Hartnett, leader of Redditch Borough Council, said: "It was a light-hearted event around the town in high heel shoes. Hopefully people have taken notice and they sign the pledge so we can stamp this out."

Visit www.whiteribboncampaign.co.uk/worcestershire to make a pledge or to donate money visit www.victimsupport.org.uk/donate/donate-online to help fund agencies who support victims who are not ready to report domestic abuse to the police.

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